In 1859 Brisbane was declared a municipality - a city with its own local government.
The city was named after Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, who was a noted astronomer and sixth Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825.
The first election for the municipal council was held on 13 October 1859. There were 37 candidates for the nine positions on council.
John Petrie, a notable builder and stonemason, was unanimously elected first mayor. The first aldermen were men who had helped to establish Brisbane as an important settlement in the north.
City of Brisbane Act
In 1924, the Queensland State Parliament passed the City of Brisbane Act to set up a single government in Brisbane. Before this, the Brisbane area had been divided up into 20 local authorities and joint boards.
The act reduced the number of aldermen for the Brisbane area from more than 200 down to 20.
The newly elected Council, headed by Brisbane's first Lord Mayor William Jolly, took over the local administration on 1 October 1925.
As part of the state's Local Government Legislative Review, a number of acts relating to local government have been, and continue to be, reviewed and updated. This includes the City of Brisbane Act 2010 which became law on 1 July 2010 and replaced a number of existing acts.
You can view the City of Brisbane Act online at the Queensland Government website.
City Hall history
Brisbane City Hall was officially opened on 8 April 1930 by the then Governor of Queensland, Sir John Goodwin.
The building covers two acres (0.9 hectares) and at the time was recognised as one of Australia's most outstanding structures.
City Hall is a landmark symbol of the city and is featured on Brisbane City Council corporate logo. To find out more about Council's logo see Council symbols.
City Hall was closed for restoration between 2010 and 2013. During this time workers uncovered an important archaeological discovery, including a cobblestone drain. Find out more.
For information about visiting City Hall and hiring City Hall function rooms visit the City Hall section.
Find out more about City Hall's history and heritage.
King George Square history
King George Square was opened in 1975. It is an open public area at the entrance of City Hall.
Within King George Square there are a number of statues including:
- Petrie Tableau: erected in 1988 to mark Australia’s bi-centennial. It depicts the Petrie family who were the first free-settling family in the local district
- King George V Memorial: erected in 1938 in honour of King George V, who was the ruling monarch of England when City Hall was opened
- Speaker’s Corner: an area set up in 1991 for free speech. The three statues depict prominent public speakers from Queensland’s history. They are:
- left: Steele Rudd, a famous storyteller and writer who created the 'Dad and Dave' characters from the 'On Our Selection' stories
- centre: Emma Miller, a suffragette and trade unionist at the turn of the century who was instrumental in introducing women’s vote and rights for Australia
- right: Sir Charles Lilley, a former Premier and Chief Justice of Queensland, one time member for the Valley and early editor in chief for the Moreton Bay Courier (now Courier-Mail)
- Forme Del Mito bronze figurines: Council purchased the figurines when they were brought to Brisbane for World Expo 1988. Designed by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro, the Forme Del Mito is derived from the Greek tragedy, Agamemnon. Each figure represents a force and principal character
Find out more about King George Square.